MAC to Millenium – The University of Maryland from A to Z


More than eighty years ago, as part of Alumni Day, campus officials held an ivy-planting ceremony on the shady hill near Morrill Hall during which class traditions were formally transferred from the graduating seniors to the juniors. Many of the traditions that existed in 1920s — freshman-sophomore tug-of-war, May Day, all-class proms, rat caps — have disappeared, but the new ones, like rubbing Testudo’s nose for good luck and firing off a cannon every time the football team scores, have taken their place.

MAC to Millennium brings together these traditions and many other fun and unusual tales about our campus, from its founding in 1856 as the Maryland Agricultural College (MAC) to the twenty-first century. We hope you enjoy this compilation and that you rub Testudo’s nose every chance you get!

Start learning fun and interesting UMD facts:

Relive Campus History with University AlbUM


Did you know that you can browse historic University of Maryland photographs online anytime you want? Just check out University AlbUM! The site hosts a wide variety of photos ranging from athletics to campus life. Feel free to browse by decade using the drop-down box, or search for subjects and keywords using the search box.

You can even search for and watch historic University of Maryland football games!

Noted Marine Biologist Eugenie “Shark Lady” Clark, Former UMD Professor, Dies at 92

The university mourns the loss of marine biologist Eugenie Clark,who passed away on February 25 in Sarasota, Florida. Dr. Clark taught marine biology at the University of Maryland from 1968 until her retirement in 1992. Born in New York City on May 4, 1922, to a Japanese mother and an American father, Clark would later become a pioneer in the field of marine biology and break down many barriers for women in the field.

Photo courtesy of Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

23 photo courtesy of Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium


Although Clark researched other fish, discovering several species and having a few named in her honor, she focused mostly on sharks. Her fascination began in her childhood at the age of nine when on visits to the New York Aquarium at Battery Park in lower Manhattan, she’d press her nose to the shark tanks and imagine herself inside, swimming with the sharks. She would later go on to earn a B.A. in zoology from Hunter College in 1942 and a master’s and Ph.D. from New York University. She conducted underwater scientific research completing 70 deep dives in submersibles. During one dive in the Sea of Cortez, she rode the back of a 50-foot whale shark, the largest fish in the sea. It’s no wonder why she was referred to as the “Shark Lady.”

photo courtesy of Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

photo courtesy of Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

Clark wrote the best-selling book Lady with a Spear in 1953 about her experiences conducting research in the South Pacific, which inspired many people to work in marine biology, particularly women. She went on to found the Mote Marine Laboratory in 1955, which focuses on research concerning sharks, wild fisheries, coral reef restoration, marine biomedical research, and other issues.

photo courtesy of David Doubilet for National Geographic

photo courtesy of David Doubilet for National Geographic

Eugenie Clark was well respected and loved by her colleagues at the University of Maryland. Arthur Popper, professor emeritus and research professor in the Department of Biology here at the university had this to say of her:
“Genie was an amazing communicator of science and was able to make science exciting to everyone from children to colleagues. Genie was in high demand as a speaker around the world, and her talks combined great science and infectious enthusiasm for science. Indeed, I recall one week when I heard Genie give a talk on her work to a spell-bound group of 10 year olds in my daughter’s elementary school class, and then she gave a very similar talk to an equally spell-bound group of scientists,  including Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Leaky. Genie was able to captivate audiences, and impart an excitement of science, and a love of science, that was powerful and unique. I know a number of people, including a good number of women, who decided on careers in science or science-related fields after being inspired by Genie.”

Eugenie Clark will be missed by everyone at the University of Maryland as well as the scientific community at large for her contributions to the field of marine biology and her wonderful spirit.

Track Glory at Cole Field House

On March 13, the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships will begin at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. This year the Terps are sending two athletes, Amber Melville and Thea LaFond to compete in the high jump and triple jump against the nation’s best collegiate competitors! But did you know that Cole Field House has seen some memorable track and field performances in its day too?

For decades Cole Field House was home to a handsome four lane wooden track.

Cole Field House’s handsome looking track was wooden, 1/11th of a mile around.

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Happy Birthday UMD!

On this day,159 years ago, the Maryland General Assembly granted a charter to the Maryland Agricultural College, now known as the University of Maryland. Charles Benedict Calvert, a descendant of the first Lord Baltimore, and a group of prominent Maryland planters led the effort to establish the college which was to focus on instruction in scientific agriculture and training its students “for all the duties of a man and a citizen.” You can read the original charter for the MAC here.

So Happy Birthday, University of Maryland!!

Julie Andrews visits campus


Hard to believe we’ve just passed the 50th anniversary of the release of the classic movie “The Sound of Music.” DYK that Julie Andrews received an honorary degree from UMD in 1970?

Originally posted on Terrapin Tales:

Julie Andrews and her husband Blake Andrews Julie Andrews and her husband Blake Andrews

Since 1921, the University of Maryland has awarded honorary degrees to many distinguished individuals, including authors, scientists, political and business leaders, musicians, artists,historians, and members of the military, marking their contributions to the world at large.

Honorary degree citation Click to read the official honorary degree citation speech!

Julie Andrews 4 Dr. Elkins confers the honorary degree on Julie Andrews

One recipient familiar to fans of the stage and silver screen was Julie Andrews, who received her honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree at the June 6, 1970, commencement.  Ms. Andrews is perhaps best remembered for her roles in “The Sound of Music” and “Mary Poppins,” but she has also had a brilliant career on Broadway.

She joins many other performers and musicians on the university’s honorary degree lists (A-K and L-Z), including Bill Cosby, Ira Gershwin, Eubie Blake, Rosa Ponselle, and Sergiu Comissiona.

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Valentine’s Advice

Alumna Minnie Hill, Class of 1925, had a great piece of Valentine’s advice…A Recipe for Kisses:

To one piece of dark piazza, add a little moonlight. Take for granted two people. Press in two strong ones a small hand. Sift lightly two ounces of attraction, one of Romance. Add a large measure of Folly. Stir in a floating ruffle and one or two whispers. Dissolve half a small quantity of hesitation, one ounce of resistance, two of yielding. Place the kisses on a flushed cheek or lips. Flavor with a slight scream and set aside to cool. This will succeed in any climate if directions are carefully followed.

Her scrapbook really rocks!  Visit the University Archives to see the other treasures Minnie collected during her undergraduate days!

20 Maryland Students You Wish Were Your Roommates

It’s hard to forget the people we meet in college, and lots of times, these are the people you’ll know for the rest of your life! We’ve picked 20 UMD alumni or groups of students we think would be great roommates and life-long friends. See if you agree.


1. First, there’s Jim Henson- the creative roommate who can always keep you entertained.


Jim Henson created and performed with puppets even before be started at UMD. Shortly before his freshman year in 1954, he created Sam and Friends, a puppet show that was televised on local stations and featured a character named Kermit, later to become the famous Kermit the Frog. Henson graduated from UMD in 1960, with a degree in Home Economics.


2. And Connie Chung- the roommate who always knows what’s going on around campus.

Connie Chung_1966

Before she became a journalist and news anchor of national renown, Connie Chung was active in student government and journalism at UMD. On top of that, she was even elected freshman queen in 1966! Chung graduated in 1969 with a degree in journalism.


3. There’s the roommate who always thinks outside the box…

Drinking water the hard way, University of Maryland, circa 1974_2

There’s more than one way to drink from the fountain…


4. And Boomer Esiason- the roommate who is always there to drive you to class.

Boomer Esiason_1984

Raining? Class on the other side of campus?  Better get a ride! Before he graduated in 1984, star quarterback Boomer Esiason’s truck was a common sight at UMD. “That thing could go wherever it wanted to, where ever Boomer wanted to drive it,” said a former roommate, “and Boomer had a knack for seeing a parking spot where there was nothing but grass and bushes.” Better watch out for DOTS!


5. How about Judith Resnik- the roommate who can help you with your math homework.

Judith Resnick_1986

Judith Resnik spent several years at UMD as a graduate student, before receiving her Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1977.  Her intense-sounding dissertation was titled “Bleaching Kinetics of Visual Pigments.” Afterwards, she became the second woman in space and spent 145 hours in orbit before being tragically killed in the Challenger explosion in 1986.


6. Or a roommate who will always watch your back.

Women's Rifle Team, ca. 1920-1930

The Women’s Rifle Team was founded at UMD in 1922 and dominated the national scene for nearly twenty years, featuring multiple national champions and an Olympian on the team. We think it’s safe to say they always hit their mark!


7. There’s also William Cole- the roommate who becomes your best friend.

William Cole_1910

The namesake of historic Cole Field House, William P. Cole was apparently obsessed with sports while he was a Civil Engineering student at the Maryland Agricultural College. According to his senior entry in the 1910 yearbook, he was known to watch baseball “for hours at a time,” not stopping for anything. But Cole was even more devoted to his friends then he was to baseball. After arriving at school, Cole was assigned a room with baseball star and class president Jackson Grason, and “to our knowledge has not left him since.”


8. And Juan Dixon- the roommate who you want on your rec basketball team.

Juan Dixon_2001

A two-time All-American and the holder of six school records including total points scored, Juan is the man you need on your squad for that intramural championship.


9.  Don’t forget food! Everyone needs a roommate who can keep you well fed.

Students at table in barracks with ham, Maryland Agricultural College, 1902

Yes, you’re reading this image correctly- these cadets are eyeing a big smoked ham hanging from the ceiling in this 1902 dorm room photo. And did we mention the stellar room-decorating skills?


10. Could your roommate secretly be Testudo?

Testudo mascot standing with Testudo statue, McKeldin Library, University of Maryland, circa 2003

Who is the student in the Testudo costume?  It could be anyone! But did you ever think it’s strange that you’ve never seen your roommate at any Maryland games?


11. Watch out for Harry Clifton “Curley” Byrd- the roommate who is a total heart-throb.

Curly Byrd_1908

Here’s what the 1908 yearbook had to say about Byrd: “when ‘Curly’ grins, watch out. Something is sure to break. His paths are strewn with the broken hearts of guileless maidens whom he has ‘loved to death,’ he-siren that he is, and never has our handsome Don Juan been found ‘de trop’ in feminine society.” Need we say anything else?


12. And there’s Tom McMillen- the roommate who has a killer sense of fashion.

Tom McMillan_1971

Three-time All-American, Academic All-American, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar, Tom McMillen graduated at the top of his class with a degree in chemistry in 1974.  During his years at UMD, McMillen was a lot more than a smart-looking coat and tie.


13. Boring day in the dorm? You need Munro Leaf- the roommate who is an awesome story teller.

If you haven’t already read the story of Ferdinand the Bull, you probably should! After Leaf wrote the popular story of the bull who would rather smell flowers than fight, it was published in more than 60 languages and even turned into a Disney film that won an Academy Award in 1938. Leaf was an English major and graduated in 1927.


14.Lost and can’t find your way around campus? Everyone needs a roommate who knows their way around UMD!

Freshman Becky Mewis getting directions, circa September 1958

It seems like there’s a new building or some kind of construction job every year at UMD. And let’s face it- we all needed help finding our classes freshman year.


15. And let’s not forget Gary Williams- the roommate who has to win everything.

Gary Williams_1965

Before this fist-pumping coach was leading the Terps to a national championship and hundreds of wins at home and on the road, Gary Williams was a determined student-athlete who would stop at nothing to win. In his student days at UMD, Gary spent long hours perfecting his skills on the basketball court. His hard work made him team captain in 1967, and he graduated with a school record in field goal percentage. Let’s just hope some of that work effort rubs off on you come finals time…


16. Need some help with tools? Here’s Millard Tydings- the roommate who can help you build things.

Millard Tydings_1900

Tydings is the one on far right.

For those of us who have had to put their dorm room furniture together or build projects for classes, look no further than Millard Tydings, Class of 1910. The future Maryland  Senator majored in Engineering and was a wiz with all things mechanical. If your construction project is going to take a while, you’re also in luck! Tydings was a gifted speaker and could talk about any subject for hours. Don’t say things are ever boring when he’s around.


17.And did we already mention that everyone needs a roommate who likes to eat?

Alpha Delta Pi Members Snacking, 1954

Because food is important when you’re a student, that’s why.


18. But if you’ve been eating TOO well, then there’s Randy White, the roommate who will go to the gym with you

Randy White_1974

Randy White wasn’t called half man and half monster for nothing. “The Manster” was a fearsome presence on the gridiron, earning All-American status twice and winning the Lombardi Trophy in 1974. The defensive end weighed 248 pounds, could bench-press 430 pounds, and ran the 40 in 4.6 seconds and is definitely the man you would want to spot you on the weight bench.


19. Most importantly though, everyone needs a roommate who can just be themselves, whether they’re just super chill…

Student Relaxing with in Residence, 1975


20. Or they’re loudest, craziest person you’ve ever met!

Terp Fans Painted Red, 2003


Is there someone you think we missed? Leave a comment and let us know!

University Archives takes a trip to the Pentagon & the Air Force Art Program

On January 20, University Archives staff members Anne Turkos and Amanda Hawk and undergraduate student assistant Kendall Aughenbaugh had the opportunity to tour the Pentagon by invitation of the Air Force Art Program.

We first arrived at the Pentagon in mid-morning, and after some pleasant exchanges with the security team, we waited for our hosts in the press briefing room at the Pentagon (also the general waiting area for visitors). Fletcher Davis, Director of Operations, Russell Kirk, Curator of the Air Force Art Program, and Greg Thompson, of the Air Force Art Program, came to meet us and escorted us throughout the building for the day. Our tour started in the main lobby, which features two gigantic quilts dedicated to the victims of the attacks on September 11th. One quilt has tiles for the names of the many victims, the other features their photographs. Fletcher explained the quilts were hung in the lobby so that the DoD workers would be reminded of their fight every day.

"Operation Enduring Freedom" by Stewart Wavell-Smith (2004.014 - courtesy of AF Art Program)

“Operation Enduring Freedom” by Stewart Wavell-Smith (2004.014 – courtesy of AF Art Program)

After viewing the 8×28 mural dedicated to Operation Enduring Freedom, we moved to an annex where Air Force art is prominently featured and discussed the program. The Air Force Art Program began in 1950 and is comprised of over 10,000 donations of art featuring aircraft or other Air Force-related subjects. Throughout the course of the day, we talked a lot with our hosts about cataloging and keeping track of such a large number of works of art and other difficulties a collection of this size can present. The art program keeps different works in various places all over world – on bases in the US, as well as in exhibits and displays in other countries. Keeping track of every photo, painting, drawing, model, or piece of sculpture can be extremely difficult!

"Iraqi Wreckage" by Harley  Copic (2004.028 - courtesy of AF Art Program)

“Iraqi Wreckage” by Harley Copic (2004.028 – courtesy of AF Art Program) 

The pieces featured in the first annex we visited were all very photo-realistic pieces, but all extremely different. Some were paintings featuring planes flying through the sky, both solo and in formations, and some were what are called “combat pieces.” These pieces are done by artists who are sent to current combat zones (areas where it’s deemed safe for visitors), and they can paint whatever they see in whatever way they choose. One of the most impressive combat pieces we saw in this gallery was a very life-like painting of a destroyed Iraqi plane, laying on the ground (left). Hard to believe it’s actually a painting, right?

Cruse scanner, used by the Air Force Art Program for preservation. The tower in the back allows the scan to adjust for varying sizes of subjects, and the light bulbs used are custom made for the amount of use this particular scanner gets!

Cruse scanner, used by the Air Force Art Program for preservation. The tower in the back allows the scanner to adjust for varying sizes of subjects, and the light bulbs used are custom-made!

We continued through the halls of the Pentagon (in which we were certain we’d get lost!) and made a visit to the art program’s digitization center, where we met John Meade. Digitization is an extremely important part of any kind of collection, but Fletcher explained how the art program sees it as a kind of “insurance policy.” Currently, the Air Force Art Program is attempting to scan and digitally store as many of their art works as possible so they can be absolutely sure they will will have high quality images of these pieces forever. Using their state-of-the-art scanner (right), the art program can preserve these fantastic pieces of art and use them in many different ways. One piece, the “F-86 Sabre Dance,” is one of their most famous pieces, and its digital copy is featured in several exhibits on display in the Pentagon, as well as other publications.

After walking around and seeing a bit more art, we had the chance to meet with Dave Bragg from the Air Force History Office and Col. Sean Monogue of Air Force Public Affairs about how these programs help preserve the history of the Air Force and represent the Air Force to a wide variety of constituencies. It was extremely interesting to hear how the art program partners with the history and public affairs staffs to support the Air Force’s mission.

The last portion of our day was spent with Al Jones, Curator for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (SecDef or OSD). Mr. Jones is in charge of many of the exhibits on display in the halls of the Pentagon. We started at an exhibit about Prisoners of War and soldiers Missing in Action. The exhibit talked about the ongoing efforts to recover missing soldiers after conflict ends, in order to bring closure to their families. DNA and digs in former combat zones are integral in finding lost soldiers, but efforts in the last few decades have solved thousands of cases for grieving families. This exhibit is supported by some of the AF Art Programs pieces which feature POWs as the main subject. More information about this exhibit can be found here. Another interesting exhibit focused on the human side of the Air Force, featuring missions like the Berlin Airlift or Tsunami Relief Efforts.

Korea: The Forgotten Victory

Korea: The Forgotten Victory

Korea: The Forgotten Victory

Korea: The Forgotten Victory

The most recent exhibit installed at the Pentagon, “The Forgotten Victory,” is about the conflict in Korea. Al explained that the committee who designed the exhibit did not want to call it the forgotten war, because the people of South Korea have benefited so greatly since the end of the conflict. While the mission of the war was not entirely successful, he said, it was still a victory for those living in South Korea.The exhibit features panels dedicated to the contributions each branch of the military made to the war effort. Additionally, a chronology of the progress of the wa has been placed on the walls, and photographs of US soldiers in the conflict are everywhere. The exhibit was so well done, and told the story of the Korean conflict so vividly,that representatives from South Korea who were sent to examine it asked that it be duplicated and re-built in South Korea. More information about this exhibit and its dedication can be found here.

Anne, Amanda, and Kendall had a terrific day learning about the Air Force Art Program and visiting many exhibits throughout the Pentagon and are very grateful to their hosts for an amazing, behind-the-scenes tour.


Mencken in Maryland

H.L Mencken was many things, but never a degree holder from the University of Maryland. In 1952, the famed author and journalist was offered an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from President H.C. Byrd and the Board of Regents, but curiously declined. Just like today, the University would often honor prominent citizens at commencement, and over the years there have been many famous and important people who have received honorary degrees from Maryland. Mencken lived in Maryland his entire life and was incredibly influential, making him an ideal candidate for this honor.

Mencken wrote for the Baltimore Sun and a variety of other local papers. photo credit: Pratt Library

Mencken wrote for the Baltimore Sun and a variety of other local papers.                         photo credit: Pratt Library

Mencken was a prolific writer, journalist, and critic of American life and culture. The Baltimore native was born in 1880, and by the early 1900s was well known throughout Maryland and the rest of the country.  He is probably most famous for his role in reporting on the Scopes Trial in 1925, or for his 1919 book, The American Language in which he studied the ways that the English is spoken in the United States. In a career that lasted nearly fifty years, Mencken became a prominent intellectual and had a lasting impact on American political and scientific thought.

Perhaps even more impressive was the fact that Mencken became such a prolific writer and thinker despite not having much training in writing or journalism. He graduated a class valedictorian from the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute in 1896, and almost immediately began writing for the Baltimore Morning Herald. Aside from a short writing class at a correspondence school, he was never formally educated in writing or anything else beyond high school.

An honorary degree would be “in recognition of your great contributions to the State and country in this field,” President Byrd wrote to Mencken, hoping that he would be one of the two recipients of honorary degrees at the June 1952 commencement. Oftentimes the University of Maryland gave honorary degrees to local leaders and figures, but it wasn’t every year that a nationally renowned figure like Mencken was honored in this way.

Unfortunately, Mencken had been in poor health ever since suffering a stroke four years earlier. By 1952, he was unable to read or write, and his brother August was forced to take care of his correspondence. In a letter back to Byrd, August reported that Henry appreciated the generosity of the Board of Regents in offering the degree but that he had never accepted honorary degrees in the past and felt compelled to refuse the title of Doctor of Letters from Maryland.

But the 1952 commencement was not the first time Mencken had come into contact with Byrd and the University of Maryland. In the spring of 1937, he wrote a series of 18 articles for The Baltimore Sun about the school and its history. The Sun, always a fierce critic of the university and President Byrd, sent Mencken to investigate the university and its president, and report any ‘dirt’ that he could find on them. Byrd had “a reputation as a burglar of the State treasury,” according to Mencken, and had been criticized in the past for pressuring the state legislature into appropriating huge sums of money for the University. During the Great Depression, Maryland was costing Maryland taxpayers over one million dollars annually, and Byrd’s frequent requests for extra cash for new buildings and other large projects were not welcomed. Mencken, a seasoned reporter at this time and a vociferous critic of many public figures, seemed like the perfect man for the job.

It was surprising, then, when Mencken ended up writing a series of articles giving high praise to Byrd and Maryland. In his last article summing up his experiences at Maryland, the journalist even suggested that other universities in the state, like Johns Hopkins and Goucher College, would be better off under the leadership of President Byrd. “The thing to do with a man of such talents is not to cuss him for doing his job so well,” Mencken wrote in response to critics at The Sun who bashed the president at every opportunity, “it is much wiser, so long as hanging him is unlawful, to give him a bigger and better one.”

But the 1952 Commencement exercises at Maryland were still an exciting affair without Mencken, with speeches and addresses from the mayor of Baltimore, Thomas D’Alesandro, Jr., and Governor Theodore McKeldin. President Byrd presented honorary doctoral degrees in Laws and Commercial Science to Thomas Duckett and Alexander Sheff, both prominent men from Maryland who had made important contributions to the state.

Although it has been over 70 years since he last visited, you can still find a part of H.L. Mencken on campus, today, the University of Maryland Libraries hold many books on Mencken and some of his own writings, including some early editions of The American Language and other books that he wrote throughout his lifetime. Special Collections and University Archives in Hornbake Library also holds microfilm of the Baltimore News-Post, and some other papers that Mencken wrote throughout his career and is the home of the Arthur J. Gutman Collection of Menckeniana.

To see August Mencken’s Letter to President Byrd, click the link below:

August Mencken Letter to President Byrd

The 15 Best Maryland Athletic Nicknames of All-Time

 15. Ed and Dick Modzelewski – “Big Mo and Little Mo”

There is no better set of nicknames to describe the brother tandem of Ed and Dick Modzelewski. Dick followed his older brother Ed to the University of Maryland in the early 1950s, where they both became a force to be reckoned with on the gridiron. Both brothers were selected in the NFL draft following their time at Maryland.


14. Charles Driesell – “Lefty”

Ever wonder why legendary Maryland basketball coach Charles Driesell is nicknamed “Lefty?” Don’t over-think it. Driesell was nicknamed “Lefty” in grade school because he’s left-handed. The nickname followed him to Maryland, where it remains synonymous with Terps basketball.


13. Harry Clifton Byrd – “Curley”

If you’re going to be one of the most prominent figures in University of Maryland history, you’d better have a cool nickname right? Former university president, Harry Clifton Byrd, known to many only as “Curley,” got the nickname from his black, curly hair. Byrd was a huge supporter of Maryland athletics and was an exceptional athlete himself.

Curley Byrd


12. Bombale Osby – “Boom”

Of course you remember fan favorite “Boom” Osby, who played for the Terps under Coach Gary Williams from 2006 to 2008. Osby claims he got his nickname from an old high school teammate, who would mispronounce his name “Boom-bale.” His nickname certainly represented his aggressive and intense playing style.

photo courtesy of:

photo courtesy of:

11. Ralph Friedgen- “The Fridge”

Former Maryland football coach Ralph Friedgen is affectionately nicknamed “The Fridge” in reference to his last name and his size. “The Fridge” played football for Maryland from 1966 to 1968 and was an assistant coach before becoming head coach of the Terps football team from 2001 to 2010.


10. Brene Mosely- “Bones”

Current women’s basketball guard Brene Mosely got the nickname “Bones” from one of her youth basketball coaches who thought she was incredibly skinny. Years later, the nickname has stuck around.

photo courtesy of:

photo courtesy of:

9. Chet Hanulak – “The Jet”

Star running back Chester Hanulak was an integral part of Maryland’s 1953 National Championship football team. It is no surprise to anyone who has seen footage of him playing why his nickname became “Chet The Jet.” As a senior, Hanulak sprinted through defenses with ease on his way to finishing the season with an average of 9.78 yards per carry, a Terps’ record that still stands.



8. Norman Esiason – “Boomer”

Most people are surprised to hear that Boomer is actually the nickname, and not the birth name, of the former Terp quarterback. Esiason actually received the nickname “Boomer” before he was even born. It was his constant kicking in the womb that prompted his mother to give him the fitting nickname. Maybe Boomer would have made an excellent punter or kicker for the Terps in addition to quarterback. I guess we will never know.

Boomer Esiason_1984

7. Vernon Davis – “The Duke,” and “Cyborg”

Vernon Davis is the only athlete on our list to boast not just one, but two nicknames! Davis got the nickname “Duke” because he looks exactly like his father, whose name is Duke. At Maryland, Davis’ teammates changed the nickname to “The Duke.” Davis’ Maryland teammates also gave him the nickname “Cyborg” in reference to his freakish athletic ability. Davis is still living up to the “Cyborg” nickname as a current member of the San Francisco 49ers.

photo courtesy of" USA Today

photo courtesy of” USA Today

6. Howard White – “H”

Howard White, simply known as “H,” will forever be known as the man who helped Michael Jordan launch his wildly popular Jordan Brand. But before joining forces with MJ, White was a playground legend and Maryland star. White, who grew up idolizing Oscar Robertson, came to Maryland wanting to be like “Big O.” Instead, Lefty Driesell assured him that if he listened to everything he said, White, already known as “H,” could wear his nickname on the back of his uniform. So he did. Howard White is the only Maryland athlete that we know of that actually wore his nickname on his uniform.

H White

5. Renaldo Nehemiah – “Skeets”

Maryland track star Renaldo Nehemiah was always fast. In fact, he got his nickname “Skeets” because he crawled so fast as a baby. Skeets set world records while at Maryland and dominated the track world from 1978-1981. He was ranked number one in the world for four consecutive years before going on to play wide receiver in the NFL.


4. Crystal Langhorne – “The Franchise”

As a key component of the 2006 women’s basketball NCAA Championship team, Langhorne was often the go-to player for the Terps. That’s why her teammates called her “The Franchise.” We can’t think of a player more deserving of that nickname. She became the first player in Maryland men’s or women’s basketball history to score 2,000 points and record 1,000 rebounds. Langhorne now plays in the WNBA where she is a two-time all-star.

photo courtesy of: gettyimages

photo courtesy of: gettyimages

3. Shawne Merriman – “Lights Out”

Shawne Merriman was a nightmare for opposing offenses during his time at Maryland. However, it was in high school where Merriman earned the nickname “Lights Out” after knocking four opposing players unconscious during the first half of a game. The Maryland native would go on to have a successful career in the NFL as a three-time All-Pro.


2. Walt Williams – “The Wizard”

We told you that Howard “H” White was the only player to wear his nickname on the back of his jersey, but as you can see below, Walt Williams took his nickname to a whole different level. Williams was given the nickname “The Wizard” by former Maryland coach Bob Wade in reference to his finesse passing and ball-handling skills.

Walt Williams

1. Randy White – “The Manster”

To be fair, Randy White’s nickname “The Manster” is not one he earned while playing at Maryland, but that doesn’t mean the nickname is not one of the best to ever be given to a Maryland athlete. It wasn’t until White was with the Dallas Cowboys that he earned the name “The Manster.” His Cowboys teammate Charlie Waters was the first to use the nickname explaining “the way Randy plays he has to be part-man and part-monster.”

Randy White


Honorable Mentions: Bob “Turtle” Smith, “Chief” Millard Tydings, Maureen “Bean” Scott